ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region will not allow anyone to use its soil to make conflict with the neighboring countries of Iran, Syria, and Turkey, Kurdistan's top official said on Wednesday.
“Why has Turkey crossed the border [of the Kurdistan Region]? What is the reason? There is a reason,” Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said.
The speech came during a press conference in Erbil following a Council of Ministers meeting regarding changes to current austerity measures which have greatly reduced the salaries of KRG civil servants.
“The Kurdistan Region has a principle. The Kurdistan Region in no way would allow its soil to be used to attack or make conflict with neighboring countries. This principle includes attacks on Turkey, Iran, Syria or any other countries,” he stated, clearly referring to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Recently, Turkey has stepped up airstrikes against the PKK and has threatened to launch a military operation in the Qandil Mountains in the Kurdistan Region, where the PKK is headquartered, and the Kurdish-Ezidi city of Sinjar (Shingal) on the Syrian border.
“It is very unfortunate," Barzani added. "We have tried and told the PKK, 'You cannot use the Kurdistan Region’s soil to launch military attacks on Turkey and then return to Kurdistan.' It doesn’t make sense, and we have asked them several times."
Turkey views the PKK as a ‘terrorist’ organization. Their fighters, now headquartered in the Qandil mountains, have been fighting an almost four-decade-long insurgency against Ankara which has resulted in about 40,000 casualties from both sides.
Editing by John J. Catherine